Tuesday, June 26, 2012

oh so crunchy

Today marks my 2nd Weekaversary of using the Oil Cleansing Method, and...it's amazing. WHY have I spent so much time and money on products and treatments to battle my misbehaving pores, when all I needed were castor and olive oils? It pisses me off if I think about it too much, so I won't. But the bottom line to my entire life as of late seems to be: naturally occurring oils and fats are the answer. Like, every single time. So thanks, marketing, for promoting really half-assed research and convincing me to try Neutrogena's entire product line, and bake with gobs of Crisco. Really. You're a doll.
So, more specifically, and in less acerbic (I hope) terms, here are the specifics of what this has meant for me:
First, I mixed 1 part castor oil and 1 part olive oil in a small jar. I added a few drops of lavender essential oil as well.
Each night, I let the bathroom water heat up, and while that's happening, rub the oil mixture onto my face. It even removes eye makeup! Seriously.
Then I soak a washcloth in the hot water, and hold it over my face and neck where the oil's been applied. I leave it on for about 60 seconds. I'm usually also mouthwashing at this time because I like to multitask. I also like full disclosure.
After approximately 60 seconds, I use the washcloth to wipe off the oil.
Then I rinse the wash cloth and hang it up to dry.
Each morning, I use a (separate) washcloth in the shower, towards the end, after my skin's been steamed for several minutes. I just wipe my face with the dampened washcloth. No website recommends this. I just miss the exfoliating component of face-washing, and I don't think it's hurting anything.
Aaaaaand that's it. I know. My skincare routine time is, I don't know, 20% of what it used to be? Maybe less? And the my skin is not greasy at ALL. Even this past Sunday, I was out in 100 degree heat for HOURS and my face wasn't any more slick than it was when I was using exfoliant and toner. I've almost completely stopped wearing makeup. Once in a while I'll use a little bit of concealer, but other than that, just powder. Oh, and eye makeup, because without eye liner and mascara I look like cholera on legs. So. That's important. If you look like cholera on legs, no one will make out with you. Important life tip.
I think the main difference is that it allows my skin to breathe. Which is weird, because lipids are all about stopping air flow, yes? Or something. I failed chemistry a BUNCH of times, so I have no idea. But I'm pretty sure that's A Thing. Anyway, I'd been using oil-free cleansers, followed by gritty exfoliant, followed by an astringent or toner, and (a relatively recent addition) rounded out with moisturizer. So I was taking a ton of steps to dehydrate my skin, and then trying to undo some of the drying. But my skin was getting worse, seemingly on a daily basis. As my blemishes' life spans ended, they hung around as dried-out scabby monsters. It feels as though putting oil on my skin causes the skin over blemishes to be soothed and softened, so then they can then breathe and heal faster. That's how it feels. Again, I have no idea what's actually happening. But it's incredible.
I'm curious about the baking soda and vinegar hair treatment, but...I'm really vain about my hair and currently have no complaints about my products (except that water runoff would be toxic to plants, so for future hypothetical products would ruin our grey water). So that one's a maybe. For later.
Another SUPER AWESOME thing that's happened in our house recently is "8 Weeks to a Less Cluttered Home." It assumes that your home's pretty neat already, and that everything's where it's supposed to be. Currently our home is for the most part, but I keep visualizing our home in a few years, and I'm already lamenting what an overwhelming mess it is. I have no illusions about the messiness of children. My sisters and I were ridiculous. Crusts and half-finished juice glasses everywhere! I vividly remember being charged with cleaning up the playroom once, and finding a plastic cup (thank you, Pizza Hut!) filled with what had once been milk. So many colors! It also assumes you've got a crapload of kids and that your life involves home schooling them. On the related days (for example, childrens' books), I've switched out things like "liquor supply" and "power tools." Which, coincidentally, are some of my favorite things to combine.
But for now, we're OK with picking up after ourselves. Yesterday was Day 1 - cutlery and kitchen accessories in drawers. I got rid of so. much. stuff. Our counter-space has increased by maybe 50% because I ditched so many redundant utensils, which eliminated the need for utensil-holders on the counter. I started getting into the appliances, but had to stop myself from going too far on the list. I want to make sure it's a SHORT exercise EVERY DAY. Not a one-time marathon, never to happen again. Today's is storage containers, and dishes and glasses. I already did it this morning. I was so excited. And I'm so pumped to list things for sale! I have a once-used sushi set and a never-used sake set, which will be SO COOL to package together! I'm planning on putting together a few things like silverware, spatulas, knives, etc. and listing it as a "starter kitchen package" perfect for a college student or first apartment.
It always surprises me how hard it is to make decisions about what to keep and what to give away, though. This morning I was going through all our glassware, and GAH it was difficult. Some of those glasses were gifts! Some I stole from bars with jerky bartenders! Some are parts of really cute sets! But then I think about our parties and how, no matter the sophistication level of our bar cart, almost everyone ends up with a beer. In a bottle. Soooooo goodbye, thrifted martini glasses, and pint glasses won at trivia night! Farewell champagne flutes and wine glasses I bought to establish myself as a grown-up! Bon voyage shot glasses I jammed into my purse after a bartender was condescending! I bid you all adieu.
Watch your backs, appliances. The clock is ticking.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

soundz lahk

I really love words that are kind-of-almost onomatopoeia.
Or maybe I'm just so used to those being the words for those things, that I've convinced myself that's what they sound like. Language is so fun!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


The night before last I made one of the top 3 worst meals I've ever created in my life. It was supposed to be Lamb Rogan Josh. But maybe I scorched my spices? Or the coconut milk? Because holy CRAP. It's disgusting. I added a bunch of sea salt, which makes it kiiiiind of bearable. But geez. I'm so annoyed I wasted a pound of lamb meat (and the time to trim and cube it because good KRISTE lamb shoulders are pains in the ass to de-bone), an entire can of coconut milk, half an onion, and heaping tablespoons of spice mix. I fished out the chunks of meat, hoping to salvage them with a different sauce, but the rest went down the drain (because we don't have any space for a compost heap geeeeeeez).
One of my other worst meals was a carrot soup I made when I was 12, I think. If I remember correctly it came from an American Girl cookbook (probably Samantha because she was my JAM). Mom was gone for...something. I don't remember. And it took me ALL. DAY. Cooking the carrots and mashing them up and adding the other stuff and letting it cook down.
And HAHAH self I'm an idiot and read "teaspoons" as "tablespoons" for the salt amount.
Dad had been working hard on something (I think finishing the basement) this entire time, and I was so excited to make lunch fo him. But I served it so late, and I'd put so much time and energy into the soup there wasn't anything else to go with it. And he sat down, starving, to his least-fun-ever-liquid-lunch, and...terrible. It was so so bad. I tasted it and thought it was horrible. But he ate all of it. Very slowly. With lots of bread (which mercifully we already had in the drawer...pretty sure he had about half a loaf).
Also one time when I was (maybe) 8 or 9 Mom asked me to help make dinner while she was at work, and Sloppy Joe's were the request. So I put a GIGANTIC styrofoam tray of ground beef in the microwave. Directly out of the freezer. And when the glass plate thingie got sloppy I moved the operation into a casserole dish, then back into the microwave. And stopped every so often to scoop out undesirable liquid with a mug. And once it looked brown (my instructions had been "brown the meat") I poured a can of Sloppy Joe mix over it, and smashed that sh*t UP.
Every. Single. Day. I marvel that I haven't been directly responsible for any deaths yet. Between this and my driving record, I just...I'm kind of a menace.
I've gotten much better, though! I finally learned about smoke points of cooking fats and we have a TON of cast iron pans (which I even season properly OMG)! Here's some awesome stuff I've made recently:
-Sweet potato fries
-Kale sauteed with ghee and garlic
-Eggs. So many eggs. All the time. They're so cheap and filling and amazing!
-Sausage and peppers over cabbage "noodles"
-Mayonnaise (I make this every other week or so)
-Chicken broth (about once per month)
-Pumpkin chili (THIS. TAKES. 20. MINUTES. MAKE IT NOW. !!)
-Roasted Brussels sprouts
-Roasted beets
-Smashed carrots
-Spaghetti Bolognese with spaghetti squash "noodles"
-Asparagus roasted/steamed/sauteed
-Salmon filets
And other stuff. And The Foliage makes me delicious things too! We're a delicious-stuff-making-machine. But an entire pound of lamb??? It just hurts my soul.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


So I think I'm a libertarian? Or something? Here are the facts:
-I hate that government regulates SOME things (see: raw milk) but not OTHERS (see: GMOs).
But also I have no problem with property taxes. Or, really, income tax. Would it be nicer to pay less? Sure. But I'm OK with contributing my share to provide public services like the court system and libraries. Also I love that welfare exists. LOVE. I don't love that WIC/general poverty provides people with sub-par food, but that probably directly relates to fact #3, above. And I definitely am in favor of any rules that promote fair pay/opportunities for minorities, as well as anything that discourages corporate monopolies.
I don't know what this means for my life. It makes me feel a little nauseated. But The Foliage and I finished watching this season of "Parks and Rec" last night, and I found myself nodding to Ron Swanson's sentiments A LOT. You know. The character that's supposed to be a ridiculous parody? Is apparently my soulmate. Crap.
What would actually happen if government were mostly removed from our day-to-day lives? Also. And I totally already thought this, but. Big corporations that buy their way through regulations and get legislators in their pockets should be burned to the fcking ground. Also maybe let's swap out a bunch of prisoners (for stupid things, not violent crimes, duh) for crappy legislators in our penal institutions.
Can we just agree that Occupiers and Libertarians are the same thing? The only thing separating us, I think, are extreme religious ideals (I'm counting disdain for religion as a religious ideal). And DEAR EVERYONE (I'm looking at you, Middle East and my father-in-law): RELIGION-BASED ARGUMENTS ARE ALMOST ALWAYS COMPLETELY POINTLESS. I suck at history, but I'm fairly certain that any history book about any location or period ever for the duration of recorded time will back me up on this. So let's just team up and boycott the jerkface URBN conglomerate. And then do a little beekeeping, maybe.

Friday, June 8, 2012

thinkin it through

The Foliage and I have moved a bunch of times. First, we lived 2 hours away from one another - him in Maryland, me in Delaware. Then we bought a house together in Delaware and both moved into it. A year later we moved to Maryland, into his grandfather's house. A few months after that, Grandpa kicked us out and we got an apartment. A year after THAT our landlord decided to sell the condo we were living in and made us leave.
Apparently nobody wants us on their property. Yeesh. And also we abandoned the house we bought in favor of a better job market and wanting to be around for a few specific family members. 
We started a lease 6 months ago at our current home in Maryland. We signed for 3 years because OMG I hate moving. And the place is big enough to accommodate a couple of tiny humans, should that become A Thing. And it's a 10 minute walk to the metro and 1.5 miles from The Foliage's office. So...perfect.
Except...it's not.
The biggest biggest thing is that there's no outdoor space. Not that's ours. There's a tiny patch of grass in front of the house but it's maintained by the community's property management. It's all so...manicured. And we are not big fans of manicured. I mean, we specifically chose an abandoned summer camp with weeds everywhere for our wedding. Organically messy is kind of Our Thing. Also there are white carpets and white walls (really bad for attempting to garden inside) and truly terrible wallpaper borders, all of which I could handle if there were just somewhere to get to outside. And, pretty minorly, the stovetop is an electric range. But mostly, not having outdoor space.
Here's what we'd like to do with a yard:
-Have vegetable and herb gardens
-Nap like it's our JOB in shaded hammocks
-Possibly keep a goat for milk
-Have space for outdoor parties
-Maybe also build structures for people to stay over
We basically want to be as self-sufficient as possible. And also to leave a very small carbon footprint. Our current place doesn't really feel low-impact. In fact it feel kind of like a black hole of vitality. Which. Kind of a bummer.
So now we're trying to decide. Should we move to a different rental with a large yard that we can use as we wish? The ones we've found have been CRAZY far away from everything. Should we buy a place on a big property? We mostly come across McMansions, which are in neighborhoods with HOAs that would not be big fans of chicken coops. Should we look for big properties with delapidated houses in non-subdivision neighborhoods and then rehab the house? We have some skills and know-how in building stuff, but not a ton, and we're very wary of contracting out a lot of work. What about land without buildings? Running utilities and getting permits would cause too many delays for our impatient hearts, not to mention the costs associated with those and building a foundation.
We have a few dreams. In a few locations. And one property in particular that makes us want to bring it flowers and chocolate, but also is terrifying when we think about the amount of work. Work we'd be really excited to do, but work nonetheless. We ALSO have a house still, in Delaware. And it's rented right now, but taking on a separate mortgage is pretty daunting. And we can't currently afford the loss we'd take on that property.
So now things we're trying to do are:
-Downsize the amount of Stuff we have (to ease potentialmove and elminate the need for storage if we move to a smaller place)
-Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity to get more familiar with the house-building process (and also help the community! Yes! I love community service!!)
-Not. contact. the seller. For the love. of. Gawd.
-Be in super strict budget mode to save up for a down payment and/or loss on our Delaware house. Oh also construction costs. Le geez.
-Look up modular homes we like and solar decathlon entries and read all the tiny house blogs to compile ideas/needs/wants for our ideal futurehome.
-Really BELIEVE that bugs and other vermin probably won't kills us and not to shriek every time either of us sees a spider. (Subquestion for our life: how much nature is TOO much?)
I have to say, we're pretty much chomping at the bit for this. For The Foliage, he would buy a place in the woods yesterday, because GEEZ that dude loves nature. For me, I think I'm feeling a bit of premature nesting? I guess? We're hoping to generate a new people soon, so pretty much all of my considerations for the future are wrapped around that. And if we're doing this thing, I want to DO IT so it can be ready once the itsy bitsy parasite makes its debut. And also I really want to create a homestead soon too. It's probably jinxy to talk about a kid before it's a kid, but I've done it before, so really how much could this hurt? Answer: A LOT. But I'm also the kind of person who wants to buy a gigantic piece of property to take on a ton of projects with which I have little-to-no experience, so let's just agree I'm kind of terrible at risk management. I'm also going to drink (wine) once (if) I'm pregnant. So. I'll fcking need it because I'lll be a zillion months knocked up, trying to build an Ewok-Village of chicken coops. I dare you to try and take that glass from me.